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Sew Cool: Framing Textiles

Posted by Liana Hornyak on Aug 15, 2019

For unique art that adds color and texture to your walls, look no further than your linen closet or accessories drawer. Vintage scarves, handkerchiefs, old baby blankets, and other sentimental items can be transformed into meaningful, beautiful pieces of art when custom framed. In fact, it happens every day in our frame shop, thanks to the expert craftsmanship of our resident sewer, Becca Cousineau.

Keep reading to learn more about Becca’s process for custom framing textiles, as well as some beautiful inspiration that’ll have you combing through your own linen closet for pieces to frame.

simply framed custom framed Luis Vuitton scarf
This gorgeous Takashi Murakami x Louis Vuitton scarf was far too beautiful to be kept in a closet, so Jonathan Lo of Happy Mundane had us shadowbox it in our White Gallery Frame.

Simply Framed: How did you first learn to sew?

Becca Cousineau: I first learned to sew years ago, in home economics class when I was in grade school. It all started with homemade pillows and stuffed animals! Now I love that sewing has become an integral part of my job.

SF: Describe the full process of preparing a scarf or textile for framing.

BC: When a textile arrives in the shop, we inspect it to ensure it's in frame-ready condition. We email a photo of the textile to the client to notify them that their order is in our hands. Next, we prepare the materials needed, like the linen mat that the textile will be sewn to. I gently steam the textile to get rid of any wrinkles or creases. I then position the textile on the mat or base to ensure it’s stitched with even borders, and then I begin sewing. I carefully hand stitch along the edge of the textile to hold it in place, never adhering the center, so the piece retains it's flow and can be easily removed in the future if needed. Then the textile gets placed in its custom frame, assembled, packaged, and shipped.

simply framed custom framed scarf
A colorful, vintage silk scarf looks pretty in plexi in our Clear Max Plexibox with White Linen.

SF: How long does it take you to prepare a textile with this mounting method?

BC: This varies, and it all depends on how long the sewing takes. The larger a textile is, the longer it will take to stitch it into place.

SF: Are there any sort of special techniques you have to use when sewing textiles to be framed?

BC: The process is quite simple, but I do come across pieces that require a little extra care and handling. For example, silk scarves can be tricky as they are never an exact, even square, and silk is a material with a lot of give. That means that it can easily shift while I’m sewing, so I’ll typically work on two sides at once to make sure it stays in place.

SF: And what about special materials?

BC: We have come across some pieces (like medals hanging from ribbon) where we use two methods of mounting, to secure both materials. First, our production team will use acid-free adhesive to tack the medal down into position. Then, I’ll sew the ribbon down around it. Typically, though, textiles require nothing more than a needle and thread to mount.

simply framed custom framed Hermes scarf
Fashionistas know that an authentic Hermès scarf is a work of art worthy of custom framing. We had the pleasure of framing this one (in our White Gallery Frame) for interior designer Tamara Eaton. Photo by Patrick Cline.

simply framed custom framing sailing flags
A pair of vintage sailing flags in our Clear Max Plexibox Frame with Natural Linen celebrates a love of the high seas, long after the wind has died down.

SF: Do you have a favorite or most memorable textile that you’ve ever sewn to linen?

BC: While they can be a little heavy to sew and require a few extra stitches, I really enjoy sewing small rugs! Some of the rugs I’ve sewn have come with stories that make them feel so special, and I love that the finished product can create an effect similar to wallpaper or a hanging tapestry—but with added sentimental value that ensures the piece will be treasured for years to come. I love helping our clients preserve their heirlooms and memories, in the form of custom framed art.

simply framed custom framed scarf
We custom floated and framed this Madewell scarf in our Natural Gallery Frame to celebrate Pride month—but we love it so much that we’re keeping it up all year long.

Do you have a scarf, rug or other textile that you’d love to see custom framed and hanging on your wall? Visit simplyframed.com and browse our frames for fabric to get started.

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